Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Sessions at NCTE

My first session was called Applying the Reading Strategies to Enhance Writing, presented by Karen Lanning and Carol Harrell of Kennesaw State University. They worked with students from grades 9 to first year university worked with students to gain insight into how reading and writing are intricately connected by having students apply the reading strategies: questioning, connecting, visualizing, predicting, inferring during revision. They presented a series of lessons to students that connected the reading and writing process and ultimately led them to read what they wrote from the stance of a reader. If we can get students to this point and to be constantly aware of their readers then the quality of writing will improve. The students were working on metacognitive skills as well, reflecting on how connecting, questioning, predicting and inferring could help them write better for their readers. Overwhelmingly, students had improved writing but also realized that writing is hard work.

My second session was called Designing Teaching and Writing Assignments for the 21st Century. The first part of the session was about genre theory. In summary what genre theory says is that texts grow out of situations and reflect patterns of instruction, and the roles, relationships and beliefs of the people using the texts. texts are social, rhetorical, dynamic, contextual and ideological. Ok so what does this mean? My understanding is this: that all ways of writing are genres and we need to help students understand the patterns of a particular genre and when that genre is most appropriate. So the OSSLT is a genre that requires a certain way of reading and writing; blogs and wikis are genres; twits (i.e those short 140 word messages in Twitter) are genres as well as all the traditional genres (forms) of writing. Unless we immerse and teach a genre to students, they will revert back to what they know. And the problem in writing is that students have difficulty moving genres of writing out of expected places. One of the ways of teaching students to understand genres in writing is through compare and contrast, i.e. comparing one genre to another. This portion of the session required a lot of concentration and thinking - since it was around 2:45 pm and I had been up since 3:00 am I was beginning to fade. However the second part was very practical and very read/write web oriented. Here's a list of 21st century genres the presented suggested:

* Amazon Book Reviews (or Chapters for us)
* Ad Analysis (why are commercials different from show to show?)
* Facebook/My Space Page for Literary Character (too bad they block these here)
* Chat/Instant Message Transcript (brainstorming activity, discussion, debates on chat)
* eBay Listing (what would a character from a novel sell on eBay?)
* Blogs
* Digital Narrative or Photo Essays ( traditional personal narrative in digital form)
* Infomercials (e.g. write an infomercial for metaphor)
* Wikis (create a class textbook)
* Podcasts (check out Radio Willow Web This is from an elementary school but one of the presenters was sitting beside a university student in a writing class and the student was listening to a podcast about the 6 traits of writing from this site)


wiredinstructor said...

sounds like your trip to the NCTE Conference was a winner!

Your mention of 6-trait writing caught my eye via a google news filter I set up. I also noticed you have links to the Teacher Librarian Ning. (consider joining our group:

We have many interests in common.

You might be interested in the Keyword Blog (about information fluency) and the 6-traits resources blog.

See you online?


Sharon Seslija said...

Thanks for the comment and the urls for the blog and ning.

I've checked them out and they are of great interest!

wiredinstructor said...

I'm delighted you like the materials. We do have a lot of useful training elements. Anything you can do to help us spread the word will be greatly appreciated!